30 July 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Do you love shopping for back-to-school supplies like I do?  All those penny deals and ridiculously cheap pencils, erasers, and crayons!  All the glue sticks may seem excessive, but I bought fewer last year and we didn't even make it to May!  I will find a better hiding spot for the back-up stash this year. 

What is your back-to-school supply weakness?

26 July 2010

The Charlotte Mason Subjects

I already wrote about the curriculum we'll be using for the 2010-11 school year, but there's a lot of subjects we cover without exactly using a set curriculum.  These are the subjects that are at the heart of a Charlotte Mason education.  These subjects include Nature Study, Artist/Picture Study, Composer Study, Hymn Study, Poetry Study, Shakespeare, and Handicrafts. 

I've come to realize that without a set plan, these subjects often get neglected and go by the wayside, so this year I'm being very deliberate about them.  I've divided ths school year into 6 six-week terms during which we'll have a focus topic in each subject.  I only plan on covering each subject once every two weeks, so it's really not a lot of time in each area.  Here's what this part of our school year will look like (The numbers indicate the term.)

Nature Study:
1.  Clouds
2.  Apple trees
3.  Rocks
4.  Ladybugs
5.  California Poppy
6.  Constellations
Resources:  Handbook of Nature Study, Southern California Nature Guide

1.  Vincent Van Gogh
2.  Winslow Homer
3.  Georgia O'Keefe
4.  Michelangelo
5.  Ansel Adams
6.  Leonardo da Vinci
Resources:  Discovering Great Artists (Kohl), Art Projects for Kids,  Deep Space Sparkle

1.  Mendelssohn
2.  Rossini
3.  Beethoven
4.  Handel
5.  Dvorak
6.  Copland
Resources:  Classics for Kids, CDs from the library

1.  My Father's World
2.  Amazing Grace
3.  O Little Town of Bethlehem
4.  The Lord is My Shepherd
5.  America the Beautiful
6.  A Mighty Fortress
Resources:  Hymns for a Kid's Heart, Vol. 1, Christmas Carols for Kid's Heart (Hymns for a Kid's Heart, Vol. 3)

1 & 2.  Emily Dickinson
3 & 4.  Robert Frost
5 & 6.  Christina Rossetti
Resources:  Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson, Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost

1-6.  Romeo & Juliet
Resources:  Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare

Handicrafts/ Life Skills:
1.  Latch Hook
2.  Setting the table
3.  Embroidery
4.  Loading the dishwasher
5.  Photography
6.  Weeding

So how do I choose the topics?  It's pretty random.  Some of our nature study topics (clouds, rocks, and constellations) will align with our earth science curriculum this year.  Some of the artist (Michelangelo, da Vinci) are from the time periods we'll be studying in history.  Other than that, I simply choose topics that  I have resources for, or they sound fun and interesting.  I think the key is just having a plan.  Choosing something is better than choosing nothing! 

So how's your planning going?

23 July 2010

Curriculum 2010-2011

Calvary Chapel Bible Curriculum
We left off in the middle of 2 Kings and should make it to the middle of Acts.
Simply Charlotte Mason's Scripture Memory System
I will be consistent about this this year.

Saxon Math 2 and 3
We are midway through Math 2, so we should begin Math 3 sometime during the year.
Daily Word Problems, Grade 2
We used this last year, and it proved to be a good supplement for solving word problems.

Language Arts:
Independent Reading
Explode the Code/Book Seven & Explode the Code/Book Eight
While the series has been great, I'll be glad when we've finished these last 2 books and move on to other things.
First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind (Vol. Levels 1 & 2)
Love this book!
Wordly Wise 3000 Grade 2
We'll start this when we're finished with Explode the Code.
Writing Strands Level 2
We haven't really focused very much on writing yet, just a bit of copywork.  I hope this curriculum will work well for us.  Anyone have experience with it?
Cursive Writing
Peer pressure has motivated my daughter to want to learn cursive, which I am more than happy to oblige.
Dictionary Skills
This should be a light supplement we'll use occassionally.
English from the Roots Up, Vol. 1
Am I biting off more than I can chew?  Maybe...

R.E.A.L. Science Earth and Space (Level One)
I'm excited about this!  And I've gotten so many supplemental resources like rock kits, field guides, books, and scopes that it should be impossible not to have fun while learning science this year!

Social Studies:
The Story of the World 2: The Middle Ages: From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance
Gracie loved volume 1, so I think volume 2 will be a hit as well.

Nature, Artist, Composer, Hymn, Poetry, and Handicrafts:
We'll focus on one area/person per 6 week term, covering 6 of each (but only 3 poets) during the year.  I'm planning to schedule each subject once every two weeks.  Come back on Monday for more specifics on who and what we're studying in these areas.

For lots more curriculum and planning posts, go to today's Weekly Wrap-Up post at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

21 July 2010

Relaxed and Refreshed

What a nice break that was!  Everyone should be able to take a month off.  I honestly did not think about school or planning or any of that for the entire month!

So what did I do?

Unfortunately I'll have to tell you rather than show you, since we're having some technical difficulties with cameras and computers (although the solution is in the mail even now). 

Our days have been busy with camping, VBS, trips to the beach, lazy days at home and lastly a few days at CHEA, our area homeschool convention.  CHEA was just what I needed to give me some motivation and break out the book lists and planners again.  Less than 5 weeks left.  Still enough time for some more summer fun in between planning session!

On another note, if you're new to or just considering the Charlotte Mason or are just trying to make heads or tails out of narration and copywork, you absolutely must read Wildflowers and Marbles' series on Charlotte Mason Language Arts.  It is chock full of great information.  I still need to reread it a few more times so everything sinks in.  Those posts are definitely going into my favorites so I can refer back to them when I need a little inspiration.

Oh, and I've finally got a new look!  I've been wanting to do something different to my blog for forever.  Click through and tell me what you think!

Enjoy those last few weeks of summer!